Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Sunday, March 31, 2013


Tony G sent me a text, yesterday, and asked if I could take a look at at an old Mongoose he had picked up at the thrift store. I told him, "Sure."

I cleaned it up, overhauled the hubs, and broke loose the stuck stem bolt.  It had new tires and tubes on it, so we just aired them up, and took a ride.

The bottom bracket and headset seemed fine, so we just left them alone.

Nice bike!


Friday, March 29, 2013

What A Week...

We started the week off with a bit of snow, and some single-digit overnight temps. I put the fenders on the fixed gear mtb, in response to getting a wet butt on the way home from the coffee shop on Sunday.

Five bolts and a zip tie are all it takes to put the fenders on the bike. I need to come up with a reusable replacement for the zip tie, since I plan to have these fenders on and off, as the weather dictates.

I got home from work on Monday, and decided I needed to sit in the snow and have a beer. (I posted about that, on Tuesday.)

It was a very pleasant afternoon, as long as the sun was shining on me. I sat there until the sun got low, and I was no longer baking in its rays. I love sitting outside after work. I really look forward to warmer weather!

 Today, I pulled down a derelict fixed gear frame that Steve's son got, somewhere, and fixed him up a bike to get around on. It was missing the rear wheel, so I pulled an old set of 700c road wheels down and mounted up some tires. I also added a rear brake and brake lever, since the bike is now a "double single-speed", rather than a fixed gear.

 "Double single-speed" means that I mounted a 16 tooth cog alongside an 18 tooth cog, with spacers between. You can loosen the wheel, and switch the chain from cog to cog, depending on the terrain. I don't know if it will ever actually get switched, but i like the concept, so I built it that way.

Earlier in the week, I started on a 650b conversion, using my old 650b wheels and a lugged Bridgestone MB-3 frame. I ordered in a stem with enough rise to allow me to use mustache bars (or similar). The stem got here, yesterday, and I started the build, today.

However, as I was working on the Bridgestone, I kept looking at the 700c RockHopper conversion, thinking how I would like to use the Campy drivetrain on the 650b bike. Eventually, I went out to the storage building and found a nice 26" fork with the appropriate steer tube, and decided to convert the RockHopper to 650b.

I used the Tektro cantilevers which were already on the bike. By adjusting the pads to the tops of their slots, I was able to get the brakes to line up with the rims, pretty well.

 The fork which I used is a late 1990s Specialized Direct Drive, double-butted cro-mo mtb fork. I think that the black fork looks pretty cool on the red bike, and I really like it better than the alloy fork which was on there.

The alloy fork will probably end up on the Bridgestone, as part of another project...

I also finished up my exhaust grills, for the Scrambler. I made two for the mufflers, and cut the original front guard into two sections to match.

Bryan, at work, suggested that I should contour the ends of the rear grills to match the curves of the muffler bodies.  That sounded like a good idea, to me, so I did that, this morning.

I am stoked about how they came out.

The fruits of my labors.

After the snowy, cold weather earlier in the week, the 65 degree temperature, today was a welcome respite. I worked out in the driveway, in short sleeves, all day. I love Springtime in Denver.

My next big project involves my 29er, but I have to wait for a package to arrive, before I can start it. In the meantime, I have the Bridgestone to play with, if I feel like it. Plus, Skull Full Of Blues has a show at Herman's Hideaway on April 25, so I will be practicing and rehearsing and  otherwise preparing for that, for the next three weeks.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ah, The Good Life

I rode to work on the fixed gear mountain bike, yesterday, with the studded tires mounted. The temperature was 12 degrees F, when I left the house, and there was a lot of ice, frozen slush and snow still on the roads from the weekend storm.

That afternoon, I rode home in sunshine and 40 degree temps. I got home, and the area around the front yard patio was absolutely balmy. The reflected sunshine, bouncing off of the white wall of the house, warmed the patio area up to about 55 degrees.

Seemed like time for a beer.

It truly is the good life, some days...


Saturday, March 23, 2013

I'm Glad It's Finally Spring!

 I love these Spring snowstorms that we get in Denver. March is our snowiest month, here, and the snow tends to be nice and wet, so it packs down nicely. Unfortunately, it is harder for the dogs to plow through. I had to clear a runway for my low-slung Oswald. He gets through the powdery stuff, okay, but this heavy stuff is tough for him.

 Once I had shoveled the walk and the drive, I busted out the fat bike for a trip down to Kaladi Brothers. I was happy to have some snow in which to ride the big tires.

 Take a look at my truck, in the background.  I would rather pedal a couple miles for coffee than have to clear all of that snow and ice off of the truck!

I just thought that his was pretty shot. University of Denver...

I zoomed in so that you can see the snow coming down, sideways. The snow on the road was really easy to ride in. I followed the automobile tracks, and it was like riding a groomed snowmobile trail. But, the wind was blowing at about 20 mph across me (from the north), and gusting to 35 or 40...

 Here, you can see the result of all that wind. Visibility was down to about 100 yards, at this point.

I got home, and had to shovel, again. I went ahead and shoveled off the patio, while I was at it. Not sure why, now that I think of it. I was just kind of enjoying the shovel, for some reason.

I think I will spend the rest of the day in the house. I have plenty of stuff to work on; music, reading, writing, eating too much, etc.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Heat Guard

When I first got the Scrambler, I removed the stock heat guards which were on the mufflers, and at the bend in the pipe just below the gas tank. I made replacement guards from aluminum, and bolted them on, in an effort to visually lighten the bike. The stock shields were quite bulky looking, and dominated the drive-side profile of the motorcycle.

I left the stock heat guards on the pipes, where they pass below the seat (and my leg, as I ride). But, I never really cared for them, because they made the pipes look as though they were a larger diameter than they actually are. To me, that gave the exhaust a "Harleyesque" look, rather than the 1960s Scrambler aesthetic to which I aspire.

Brad and I were talking about that, the other day, at the coffee shop. The next day, I removed the stock heat shields, and made some new ones from aluminum angle stock. Then, to keep my snowboard pants, which I wear on cold mornings as I ride to work, I bolted a piece of wire mesh in place to keep the nylon off of the pipes. It worked well, but the mesh was not durable enough, and it was a bit too small.

So, today, after work, I stopped at the hardware store and picked up a few things. I came home and made a new heat shield:

This what I came up with.

It's nice and sturdy, and it keeps my leg well away from the hot pipes.  I think I might make a matching version for the mufflers, and also replace the front guard with something else, since the stainless steel finish kind of clashes with the polished aluminum.

What do you think? Does it look good to you, or is it too obvious that I trimmed the rack from a Weber grill to fit...?


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Commuter Bike

After talking to Brad, the other day, about the fact that I don't ride the ti bike much, I decided to remedy that situation. It has spent a lot of time hanging in the shop building, due to the fact that it was my "serious" mountain bike/adventure bike. As such, I always felt that it was a bit of overkill to ride the ti bike to work, or just around the neighborhood.

Now that the new 29er has taken over the "serious" mountain bike duties, I have the ti bike set up as a cross bike, with 700x35c knobby tires, and a 36/48 crank. That, to me, makes it the ultimate "everyday" bike, although it is still capable of plenty of adventure riding.

I have ridden the ti bike to work, the past two days. Today, after getting home, I swapped the old Sachs rear derailleur (which was there just to make the bike ridable until something better came along) to a Shimano long-cage Tiagra that came off of Mark's fixed-gear conversion that I built up on Sunday. Yeah, it's a low-end derailleur, but it works fine. And, as soon as something better comes along...

It's weird how much faster I am on this bike than I am on the red commuter that I have been riding, lately. I can't really explain it, other than the fact that the creme Schwalbe tires on the red bike have always seemed slow to me, both on that bike and my fixed-gear. (They sure are comfy, though.)

Now, the ti bike will get some miles.


Saturday, March 09, 2013

More About the Mufflers

I originally put the D&D cans on the Scrambler because the bike was just too quiet. Of course, the D&Ds ended up striking me as being just too loud. Then, when I swapped back to the stock cans, I was afraid that I would not like the drop in decibels. I want the bike to sound like a motorcycle, not a sewing machine!

When I installed the D&Ds, I also opened up the airbox, and installed a high-flow K&N air filter. This has the effect of producing a really nice intake roar, when you crank the throttle open. It is very audible from atop the machine, but I doubt that it is very noticeable on the side of the road.

Yeah, it's dirty. That happens when you ride a motorbike, all winter.

So, that gives me the motorbike sound I want, without setting off car alarms as I go by. I will probably pull the end baffles out, still, just to add a bit of rumble to the idle. But, I don't know that I will drill the inner baffle plate, at all.


Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Oh, So Veddy Propah...

For some reason, my D&D mufflers just struck me as being too damn loud, on my way home from work, today. So, I swapped back to the stock mufflers, after I got home. It took all of about 10 minutes, from start to finish.

I had forgotten how quiet the stock cans are. I'm sure that the neighbors will appreciate it, come 5:30, tomorrow morning.

I may perform a bafflectomy on the mufflers, later.  I would like just a little bit of rumble, without the full-on thunder of the D&Ds.